We are in the process of increasing the amount of sodium in official Soylent to 100% of the RDI.
The Nutrition Facts label is somewhat confusing. The FDA and IOM publish 2 levels of nutrient intake recommendations that can be understood as: adequate intake (RDI) and maximum intake (RDA). For cases where excess is an issue, such as saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol, the maximum intake level is used, rather than adequate intake.
Sodium RDI for an adult male is 1500mg, while RDA is 2300mg. One day of Soylent has 1050mg of sodium, which is 70% of the RDI, and 45% of the RDA. Still, this is low.
During development our dietician recommended using sodium below 100% of RDI. The rationale was people are unlikely to use Soylent for 100% of their meals, and in the United States, those other meals were likely to have excess sodium, which would approximately balance out to 100%. Our adviser also expressed an opinion that the RDI levels used by the IOM and FDA were somewhat high, and that symptoms of low sodium would probably be negligible. Thus we ended up deciding on 70% of RDI.
It is now clear that we underestimated the consequences of this decision. Low sodium leads to trouble with water retention and in some cases, headaches and light-headedness. Additionally, it causes a craving for sodium, increasing the probability that the user will overuse sodium during their non-Soylent meals, defeating the purpose of undershooting sodium levels. Moreover, we have decided our goal of providing optimal nutrition should not be affected by imprecise assumptions regarding overall eating behavior. If the user consumes excess sodium for their non-Soylent meals that is their prerogative.
I would still like to express the importance of consuming water throughout the day in addition to Soylent.
I unfortunately do not have an exact timeline for when this formulation change will be shipping. Obviously an increase in sodium affects taste and we will have to design around it to avoid an overly salty taste. In the meantime, if you experience symptoms of low sodium, you should add the complementary 450mg yourself. That is 1.145g non-iodized table salt, or approximately 45 grains (source wolfram).
This change is entirely due to the feedback we have received here on these forums. Thank you for talking. We’re listening.